2 Chronicles 23:7
And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whoever else comes into the house, he shall be put to death: but be you with the king when he comes in, and when he goes out.
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(7) And the Levites shall compass.—Kings, “And ye (i.e., the centurions of the royal guard) shall compass.” (See Note on 2Chronicles 23:4.) The chronicler characteristically dwells on the share of the Levites in the matter; but he does not expressly exclude the royal guard; and it is utterly unfair to allege that he has metamorphosed the guardsmen of Kings into Levites, “in order to divert to the priesthood the honour which properly belonged to the Praetorians” (Thenius). The truth may perhaps be that the high priest Jehoiada brought about a combination of the royal guard with the Levitical warders of the Temple; and that the united body acted under the command of the five centurions of the guard.

Cometh into the house.2Kings 11:8 has, “into the ranks;” a rare word (sedērôth), occurring only four times, viz., in this narrative thrice, and once in 1Kings 6:8 (in a different sense).

But be ye.—So Kings. But some MSS. and the LXX., Vulg., Targ., and Arab. read here: “and let them (i.e., the Levites) be.” (See Note on 2Kings 11:8.)

23:12-20 A warning from God was sent to Jehoram. The Spirit of prophecy might direct Elijah to prepare this writing in the foresight of Jehoram's crimes. He is plainly told that his sin should certainly ruin him. But no marvel that sinners are not frightened from sin, and to repentance, by the threatenings of misery in another world, when the certainty of misery in this world, the sinking of their estates, and the ruin of their health, will not restrain them from vicious courses. See Jehoram here stripped of all his comforts. Thus God plainly showed that the controversy was with him, and his house. He had slain all his brethren to strengthen himself; now, all his sons are slain but one. David's house must not be wholly destroyed, like those of Israel's kings, because a blessing was in it; that of the Messiah. Good men may be afflicted with diseases; but to them they are fatherly chastisements, and by the support of Divine consolations the soul may dwell at ease, even when the body lies in pain. To be sick and poor, sick and solitary, but especially to be sick and in sin, sick and under the curse of God, sick and without grace to bear it, is a most deplorable case. Wickedness and profaneness make men despicable, even in the eyes of those who have but little religion.Compare 2 Kings 11:8, 2 Kings 11:11. The soldiers and the Levites in the temple were probably intermixed in about equal proportions. 4-9. This is the thing that ye shall do—The arrangements made for defense are here described. The people were divided into three bodies; one attended as guards to the king, while the other two were posted at all the doors and gates, and the captains and military officers who entered the temple unarmed to lull suspicion, were furnished with weapons out of the sacred armory, where David had deposited his trophies of victory and which was reopened on this occasion. No text from Poole on this verse. The contents of this chapter are the same with 2 Kings 11:4 and need no other explanation than what may be found in the notes there, to which the reader is referred.See Gill on 2 Kings 11:4. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:5. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:6. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:7. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:8. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:9. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:10. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:11. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:12. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:13. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:14. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:15. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:16. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:17. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:18. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:19. See Gill on 2 Kings 11:20. And the Levites shall compass the king round about, every man with his weapons in his hand; and whosoever else cometh {d} into the house, he shall be put to death: but be ye with the king when he cometh in, and when he goeth out.

(d) Meaning to make any tumult, or to hinder their enterprise.

7. into the house] 2 Kin. “within the ranges” (“within the ranks,” R.V.). Any one who should attempt to break through the ranks of the guard to get near to the king was to be killed. According to the Chronicler Jehoiada’s precaution would protect the sanctity of the Temple as well as the person of the young king.

he shall be put to death] R.V. let him be slain (so 2 Kin.).Verse 7. - And the Levites shall compass the king. The matter of ver. 8 in the parallel suggests nothing inconsistent with the express mention of the Levites here, but rather that the word "Levites" is desiderated there, and its significance perhaps accidentally overlooked, when the writer of Kings was using the original authorities and sources of his history. Joash raised to the throne, and Athaliah slain. - In 2 Kings 11:4-20 we have another account of these events, in which the matter is in several points more briefly narrated, and apparently differently represented. According to both narratives, the thing was undertaken and carried out by the high priest Jehoiada; but according to 2 Kings 11, the high priest would appear to have mainly availed himself of the co-operation of the royal body-guard in the execution of his plan, while according to the Chronicle it is the Levites and the heads of the fathers'-houses who are made use of. Thereupon De Wette, Movers, Thenius, and Bertheau consequently maintain that the author of the Chronicle, proceeding on the view that the high priest, the chief of so many priests and Levites, would not have recourse to the assistance of the royal body-guard, has altered the statements in the second book of Kings accordingly, and wishes to represent the matter in a different way. But this assertion can be made with an appearance of truth only on the presupposition, already repeatedly shown to be erroneous, that the author of the Chronicle has made the account in 2 Kings 11 the basis of his narrative, and designedly altered it, and can scarcely be upheld even by the incorrect interpretation of various words. That 2 Kings 11 is not the source from which our account has been derived, nor the basis on which it is founded, is manifest from the very first verses of the chronicler's narrative, where the names of the five princes over hundreds, with whose co-operation Jehoiada elaborated his plan and carried it into execution, are individually enumerated; while in 2 Kings 11, where the preparations for the accomplishment of the work are very briefly treated of, they will be sought for in vain. But if, on the contrary, the two accounts be recognised to be extracts confining themselves to the main points, excerpted from a more detailed narrative of the event from different points of view, the discrepancies may be at once reconciled. Instead of the short statement, 2 Kings 11:4, that the high priest Jehoiada ordered the centurions of the royal body-guard to come to him in the temple (ויּבא...יקּח), made a covenant with them, caused them to swear, and showed them the king's son, we read in the Chronicle (2 Chronicles 23:1-3), that the high priest Jehoiada took five centurions, whose names are stated with historical exactitude, into covenant with him, i.e., sent for them and made a covenant with them, and that these men then went throughout Judah, and summoned the Levites from all the cities of Judah, and the heads of the fathers'-houses of Israel, to Jerusalem; whereupon Jehoiada with the whole assembly made a covenant with the king in the house of God, and Jehoiada said to the people, "The king's son shall be king, as Jahve hath said of the sons of David." That this more expanded narrative can without difficulty be reconciled with the summary statement in 2 Kings 11:4, is perfectly manifest. By various devices, however, Berth. tries to bring out some discrepancies. In the first place, in the words, "Jehoiada sent and brought the princes of hundreds" (2 Kings 11:4), he presses the שׁלח, which is not found in the Chronicle, translates it by "he sent out," and interprets it with 2 Chronicles 23:2 of the Chronicle; in the second, he takes כּל־הקּהל in 2 Chronicles 23:3 of the Chronicle to mean "the whole congregation," whereas it denotes only the assembly of the men named in 2 Chronicles 23:1 and 2 Chronicles 23:2; and, thirdly, he opposes the expression, "they made a covenant with the king" (2 Chronicles 23:3, Chron.), to the statement (2 Kings 11:2) that Jehoiada made a covenant to the princes, by making this latter statement mean that Jehoiada made a covenant with the princes, but not with the king, as if this covenant concerning the coronation of Joash as king might not be called, by a shorter mode of expression, a covenant with the king, especially when the declaration, "the son of the king shall reign," follows immediately.
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